In Theory: GCC, BRICS, have a case for merger

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by ejazr, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Creation of the Bric grouping comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2009 has had a profound effect on the restructuring of international relations

    The creation of the Bric grouping comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2009 has had a profound effect on the restructuring of international relations.

    South Africa's inclusion now reflects in the name Brics and the bloc has come to represent 43 per cent of the world's population — five times the population of the European Union (EU). The group has also seen huge growth rates in the past five years, cornering a combined 22 per cent share of global gross domestic product (GDP) at a time when much of the world has been consumed by debt and financial crises.

    Significant proposal

    During their recent meeting in New Delhi, the Brics leaders took a set of very important decisions that, if implemented, would change the global balance of economic and political power.

    They agreed to set up a bank to finance infrastructure projects and sustainable development in the bloc. This is a bank that would rival the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has been exclusively chaired by Europe for more than 60 years, while the US dominates the presidency of the World Bank.

    The move coincides with a radical change in the relations of various countries in the world with the Brics group, specifically with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. China and India have succeeded in displacing traditional economic powers such as Japan, the EU and the US, from the list of the GCC's largest trading partners over the past five years.

    Meanwhile, trade between the Brics nations has grown at an average rate of 28 per cent over the past few years.

    In addition to trade, economic relations between the GCC and Brics have grown significantly, resulting in agreements and the implementation of joint strategic projects, demonstrated most recently by the Chinese-Kuwaiti joint investment of $9 billion (Dh33.05 billion) in petrochemicals and oil products.

    This comes at a time when trade between the GCC and the EU is subject to restrictions due to the continued European reluctance to sign free-trade agreements for more than 20 years. It has also occurred at a time when the financial capacity of the GCC has grown substantially due to high oil prices and this huge investment capacity can find suitable channels in the fast-growing Brics.

    In the meantime, Brics nations such as India and China have become among the largest importers of Gulf oil, while Russia is the world's largest oil producer with an output capacity of more than 10 million barrels per day. This allows both sides to coordinate their oil policy-related issues.

    In light of this, a GCC partnership with the Brics would be an important move, for strategic, economic and political dimensions on the one hand and the redrawing of international relations on the other. This is important in light of the changing balance of power in the world; at a time when the West shies away from buying Gulf oil, the Brics are drawing closer to the Arabian Gulf and its oil products and exports.

    Joining the Brics bloc is also of great significance in the post-oil era as the Gulf seeks new markets. There is no better market than the Brics, which are thirsty for all sorts of goods due to their fast growth.

    It would not be difficult for the GCC to join hands with the Brics. Indeed, they will be widely welcomed by them. A suggested name for this new bloc could be G-Brics — with the provision for a rotating presidency.

    It is imperative for all the GCC countries to join the Brics collectively, as the Gulf countries joining individually is impractical due to the small size of their economies compared to the economies of the Brics.

    A merger of the GCC and the Brics will make for a strong presence in all international organisations and will bring change given that the balance of power imposed since the Second World War has shifted. This situation requires laterations in the processes of representation and alignment of balance of power in international relations, so as to reflect the interests of different countries in a more just manner.

    Dr Mohammad Al Asoomi is a UAE economic expert and specialist in economic and social development in the UAE and the GCC countries.

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